Meaningful National Landscape

How did a piece of pristine nature and a beautiful view become a national landscape? In 1992, 27 national landscapes were nominated in honour of Finland's 75 years of independence. However, the significance of these landscapes dates back much further in history. Sites of national significance are not created overnight.

Koli National Park. Photo: Elina Odé.

The idea of a national landscape was coined in the politically charged atmosphere at the turn of the 20th century. A close relationship with nature was seen to represent a key element of what it means to be a Finn. Nationalism was encouraged through art, and certain exceptionally impressive landscapes were often chosen as the theme.

The national landscapes are also full of romance. Jean Sibelius spent his honeymoon at Koli, as did the author Juhani Aho and his wife, artist Venny-Soldan-Brofeldt. In recent years, weddings have also been celebrated at the top of Koli.

What do these landscapes mean to present-day Finns? Do they represent the ideal landscapes of the past, or are they still an integral part of how we view our country? Can you find a new perspective on the national landscape?

Many of the national landscapes are located partially or entirely in nature reserves.

All 27 national Landscapes can be found on list made by the Ministry of the Environment  (www.ymparisto.fi, in Finnish).